Nappy guide: washing cloth nappies

washing cloth nappies

Forget the days of nappies soaking in a bucket, followed by fearfully boiling them. Thanks to modern detergents and efficient washing machines, washing cloth nappies these days is wonderfully straightforward: cold rinse, hot wash, line dry, done!

One rule to remember is: no fabric softener! This reduces the absorbency of the nappies, not so good for something used for a absorbing wee and poo. (if this ever happens thanks to a well-intentioned helper, just rinse, rinse, rinse!!!!)

Washing cloth nappies – starter guide

The most effective routine for washing cloth nappies is a cold rinse, with no detergent, followed by a long, 40-60 degree wash with a good dose of detergent. The cold rinse will lightly wash off wee and poo from the nappies, ready to let the hot wash do its work. Most washing machines come with an allergy or baby setting – a cycle of 2 hours is about right: perfect for putting a wash on before doing the school run, over lunch or the kids’ bathtime, or overnight if your machine has a timer.

A scoop of Violets mineral bleach will add some pizzazz to help remove stains (this hero of the laundry world can also rescue school uniform, CSP, towels – anything that needs a stain sorting.) Or, you can try some magic in your wash, with Tots Bots Potion: a chemical-free and enzyme-free detergent that is anti-bacterial, allowing you to wash cloth nappies as low as 30 degrees! They also come in a yummy choice of bubblegum or mint humbug, or you can stick to unscented if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

Tots Bot Potion Powder

Magical potion for your nappies: Tots Bots Potion

Once the wash has finished, it’s time to enjoy the wonderful sight of freshly washed nappies on your washing line. Fresh air and sunshine are best to keep stains at bay, but don’t worry if you don’t have the space or weather, air drying on a clothes horse is grand, too. A multi-peg sock hanger is fab for your wipes, liners and boosters.

Washed nappies drying on a sunny day

A perfect nappy washing day!

Drying cloth nappies

Generally, it’s best to steer clear of the tumble drier (think of the electricity you’ll save!), but in a time-saving emergency, anything without PUL can be tumbled on a low/cool heat (boosters, prefolds, fitted nappies, wipes).

Drying times differ according to each nappy: bamboo and hemp take the longest, microfibre and milovia inserts are super quick, and terry towelling and prefolds are somewhere in the middle. In the winter, nappies shouldn’t be placed directly onto a radiator, as this will affect the PUL and parch your nappies. We find putting your clothes airer right next to a radiator can make a huge difference in speeding up the drying time.

Before you know it, you’ll have the timing of washing cloth nappies sorted, and believe us when we say the delight in seeing those wee nappies drying on the line is so compelling, you’ll soon be sharing  photos on our Facebook hangout page. There is also something highly satisfying and therapeutic in folding them, too…!

Nappies washed and dried, ready to sort

A satisfying nappy sorting session

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